cover image Russian Folk Tales

Russian Folk Tales

James Riordan. Oxford University Press, USA, $19.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-19-274536-1

Three compendiums cover folktales, sense and nonsense. James Riordan collects and translates Russian Folk Tales, illus. by Andrew Breakspeare, both well known (""Vasilissa""; ""The Firebird"") and lesser known (""The Animals' Revenge""), sometimes adding twists to Western tradition (the Frog Prince becomes a Princess here). Riordan adopts a storyteller's bravado (""Now here's a fine to-do, thought the cat, his face long as a fiddle,"" says Catofay Ivanovich when his master dumps him in the forest, deeming him past his prime). Lush full-bleed watercolors and vignettes capture the magic of the forest and a full range of characters and expressions. ( Mar.)